Since Performa’s first biennial, Performa 05, took New York City by storm in November 2005, Performa has succeeded in presenting the nation’s first and only visual art performance biennial that has become one of the most anticipated art events in the country and internationally. With the biennial, Performa not only changed the course of performance history, but caused a ripple effect around the world with museums, biennials and festivals incorporating visual art performance into their programming.
With each successive biennial, Performa has grown to incorporate all disciplines as part of its major, city wide programming, including dance, film, music, architecture and food, making it America’s only cross-disciplinary biennial as well as the country’s first and most important international biennial. Performa is the only biennial worldwide, to involve a team of more than 25 curators and a consortium of more than 40 cultural partners, including year round educational initiatives with schools and universities. In addition, Performa works closely with more than 25 cultural attaches from countries around the world, including Australia, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Israel, producing new commissions by artists in all disciplines.
In just ten years, Performa has distinctly influenced the contemporary art world and audiences alike about the very nature and meaning of artists’ performance. Performa gives the public a highly selected but broad overview of performance, and during the biennial, viewers can come to understand the most important developments in contemporary art and culture. To date, more than 450 established to emerging artists have created important new performances for the biennial to an audience of more than 110,000 people. The biennial highlights a cross-section of NYC’s vibrant arts community and acts as a unique platform by cross-pollinating audiences among arts organizations and attracting national and international visitors.